Super-Sport Saturday: Being a Team Parent

By Leslie Lindsay

Ah…it’s the weekend. The sky is blue, the temperature is perfect and your little one has a game. Could the world look any sunnier?

Yes! If your child’s team wins.

But wait. That didn’t come out right. Well, yes…it did. Everyone likes to win. It feels innately better than losing.

Last weekend, all of those elements came together. Sun. Weather. Winning. The trifecta of youth sports. We celebrated at a nearby Italian restaurant and my hubby patted our redheaded soccer star on the back and said, “We can go out to dinner/lunch” after a winning game. She grinned. Her eyes sparkled. “And I get to pick the place, right”

“You bet!”

And so while we all noshed on breadsticks and pesto, it was really Kelly who was the winner.

Or was it?

Sure, there’s a sense of shared comraderie in winning a game, even for us parents and sibs. But what if my daughter’s team had lost? We would have gone home, tails tucked between our legs and had Ramen noodles. Or cereal.

Kelly loves to get feedback on her game. Not all kids do. But for my daughter, she wants to know who we liked best for that game. I think what she means is, who supported teamwork, who played well. Not all kids like this. Some kids just want the game over and they want to get back to the business of being a kid.

Makes sense, right?

We give the feedback. “Well, Cameron was a really good goalie today,” we might say. “Sam was fast.” …”Carly could have helped on defense better.”

But most of all, we tell our daughter that she played well. The number one thing we can say to her is this, “I love watching you play.”

Maybe the game was a bust. But we can still enjoy watching our little sweeties running around a field or court, right? (by the way, this “I love watching you ____” works well for *anything*. I love watching you work is great for homework).

Here’s another thing we need to remember as parents on the side-lines: learn the names of kids on the team. Shout their names out too, not just your kiddo’s name. Same goes for getting to know the parents. Tell them their kid did well. And remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. [IMAGE DESCRIPTION]

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.</aFor some really great articles on the subject, check these out:

What Make Night Sports Parent.

How to be a Successful Youth Sports Parent

Parents Ruin Sports for Kids by Obsessing About Winning

[bottom image of boys soccer retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/parents-ruin-sports-for-their-kids-by-obsessing-about-winning/280442/ on 9.20.14. Top soccer image from author’s personal archives.]

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Super-Sport Saturday: What it Means to be a TEAM

By Leslie Lindsay

So you kid’s on a team. Yahoo! About a month ago, my hubby and I were having dinner at a delightful little restaurant. And as it goes with dates, we often talk about the kids–more specifically it was a little combo convo about his work and our daughter’s competitive soccer team.

We decided that there are a myriad of benefits for kids to be involved with a team sport. He was on one as a kid…but I was not. I felt like I was missing out on something. Sure, there’s the social component about it, but that wasn’t it. Not entirely. We thought, too that for our kids to be successful in business, they not only need to be immersed in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) world, but also need to be team players. Yes. That’s true.

While I no longer work as a nurse, there was definitely some teamwork going on there…docs and RNs…psychologists, and well, managing a whole team of nurses to get the job done. Now, I may sit behind computer and piece together stories, but even that requires a team (social networking, anyone?).

So, here it is–the ABC’s of being on a team, whether for sport or life:

A: aerobic athleticism. Advancement.

B: boredom buster. Brainstorming.

C: Collegiate. Collaboration.

D: drive. Determination. Development.

E: experintial learning. Endurance.

F: Friendshop. Fun. Flexibility.

G: Goal-setting and attainment.

H: Hand-eye coordination. Humor.

I: individual work is great…but collaboration even better

J: journey.

K: kinship and not just blood.

L: learning something new. Leadership.

M: muscle memory.

N: new experiences. Novelty.

O: outlet for engery. Optimism. Objective.

P: problem-solving. Peer review.

Q: quick-thinking. Quest for knowledge. Quest to improve.

R: relaxation…especially afterwards!

S: scholarship.

T: time-mangagement.

U: understanding and support for others.

V: victory!

W: we all succeed

X: excitement for the end result.

Z: zippier work. Hopefully.

For more information about the benefits of working on a  team, please see:

“How Kids Benefit from Team Sports” from “She Knows”

“Why I Don’t Want my Kids to Play on a Team Sport” from the WSJ

“Finding the Right Team Sport for your Child” from Parenting

Next week: Being a Winning Sport.

 

Super-Sport Saturday: New Series All About YOUR All-Stars

By Leslie Lindsay

Welcome to a new series this fall!  For the next three weeks, you’ll find a special-edition sports section in your in-box. Think of it as a little pre-season warm-up. Topics served:

  • The cost of competitive/traveling sports
  • The Team Approach
  • Being a Good Sport

If you’re thinking I’m all about apraxia over here, well you’d be right–and wrong. You see, my daughter is now 9 years old and in the 4th grade. Gosh, where did time go?! She’s doing remarkably well with her apraxia, and so we thought we’d branch out a bit. Cause ya know…there’s so much more to her lovely sweetness than CAS. I bet the same is true with your little people, too.

Just recently, my youngest daughter donned her shin guards and pulled her red hair into a ponytail. It was laced with soccer balls. The colors matched her jersey perfectly. I parked the van and punched the automatic sliding door button. She clamored out and onto the soccer field where someone (a stranger–gasp!) pinned a number to her jersey.

For the next hour, she dodged cones, dribbled, and assertively made her presence known to other team players. I leaned in close on the sidelines, a saggy pink game chair holding a cup of liquid Klonopin Starbucks in my hands. Would she make the team? chest felt tight. My palms grew damp. I followed her on the field, her tiny feet pounding the grass, a swoop of Nike cleats.

Towards the end of this “casual try-out,” a burly coach came by us parents. He had on a Cardinals cap, and so immediately–being a “Show Me” girl myself–I relaxed. “Okay, parents! Listen up. We have a list of numbers we’re going to be reading off. If you  hear your daughter’s number, then we’re extending an invitation for her to be on the team.”

Numbers? Oh dear God…what was her number?! I don’t even remember. A muffle of digits rattled off by the man in the Cardinals cap. What was my daughter’s number? Another mom noticed  my restlessness. “Go onto the field and read her number!”  I did. She was 803. Or was it 804? My palms slickened. I wiped them down the front of my capris. “Can you read the numbers again?” I asked Cardinals man.

He didn’t hear me. Instead, his focus was on telling us about the next steps. “You’ll have 24-hours to decide if you want your daughter to be on the team. Just respond to the email invitation.”

Can you read the numbers again?

I was in a full-fledged panic.

My daughter came up to me then, “Did I make the team, momma?”

I don’t know.

Read the numbers again. Please.

Forget it. I’m a visual person. Let me look at your stupid clipboard. I peered over. He pulled back slightly, shielding the clipboard. “Tell me the numbers again. I missed it.”

He looked down at my daughter, her knees dirty, the laces on her Nike cleats loosened slightly. “Oh yeah…we’re taking her, too.”

“Seriously? You’re not just saying that cause she’s standing right here?”

“No, no. We’re not that way. If she wasn’t selected, we’d tell you.”

“So am I on the team, mom?”

“You. Are. On. The. Team!”

Small problem: the darm “club” costs and arm and a leg and our first born, whom thankfully isn’t you. So, I guess you’re in.

There’s a cost involved with these extracurricular activities…be that the cost of time, effort, financial, emotional, social…well, they’re all there. As with anything, the pros and cons ought to be weighed.

We talked with our daughter, gauging her interest, her passion, her dedication. We’re talking soccer 3 days a week. It’s a family committment. We have to drive to and from practice, games, schedule our dinner around it, homework too. Would it be worth it?

In the end, we decided the pros outweigh the cons and so now consider ourselves a “soccer family.”

If you’re faced with a similar situation, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Who will be the primary “planner/manager” for the athlete in your family? Does that person have the time and skills to fit this into his or her schedule? This may mean keeping the calendar up-to-date, social media notices, ordering uniforms.
  • How will a sports committment impact your family life? Other children? Are games and practices held at reasonable times? Places?
  • What kind of travel is involved? Local communities only? State-to-state? Car? Air? Approximate costs?
  • Will there be enough time for homework, friends, just “being a kid?”
  • What kind of committment are you as parents/guardians looking for? Stay for the season? Win every game? A college scholarship? It may be good to lay out your expectations now–with the flexibility that these things can change.

Next week: What it means to be on a team.

[soccer image retrieved from www.nymetroparents.com on 9.4.14, kid with soccer ball retrieved from villagesofwestcreek.com on9.4.14]